Written By The Fabulous Felicia Edem Attipoe, An Aircraft Marshaller and a Politician
On 14th February, 1996. I had a date with the Late John Samey (may his soul rest in peace). We had dinner at Afrikiko Restaurant. That was where he made his intention known to me. John was my friend from school. He was in Bishop Herman College whiles I was in OLA Ho (A Gem). We exchanged letters a lot. We were platonic lovers l must say. We continued to be friends when I was in Social Advance Institute and after school we hooked up again.
That was when he decided that on Valentine’s Day he would take me out and officially let me know that he was actually in love with me. He wanted a steady relationship if possible that would lead to marriage. I smiled and was really enjoying the food. I remember he commended that I had large appetite. I smiled again and he never noticed I was pregnant. In fact, I didn’t even know how old the pregnancy was. I never gave him a concrete answer. I told him I would think about it.
I was then offering my internship at the National Theatre. I didn’t know I was pregnant because I never missed my period and was not having any pregnancy symptoms like vomiting, spitting etc. Apart from getting extra hips, boobs and little rashes on my face, I was just a normal girl going about her normal routine and sometimes playing naughty.
It was my grand mum who visited one day and after looking at me told my mum I was pregnant. This got my mum angry with my granny because she had witnessed me menstruating the previous week. All these happened a few months to completing school.
I went to school a bit worried and consulted some of the “bad girls” in class about my issue. First I had to go do the pregnancy test. I was convinced that I wasn’t pregnant. But to be on a safer side, I decided to go do it. At that time there was no pregnancy kit. One had to take her early morning urine to the lab and the result would be ready the following day.
Early morning I took the urine to the lab before going to school. The following day I picked the results on my way home from school and my world was shattered. The result was POSITIVE. Ahh!! Even though I never missed my period? I told the Lab Technician that there could be a mistake because I never missed my period. He asked ” then why are you here” I replied “my granny said I was pregnant” he then replied “go show the results to her then… Bad girl!”
Abortion gone wrong…
In fact I didn’t know how I got home. I was so confused and didn’t know what to do. Guess what happened!! I got home so devastated. In deep thoughts and thinking of the next step to take. But the question was how old was the pregnancy?? That evening I went for choir practice. I was the church organist. I managed to be stable and practiced with the members throughout. On my way home I passed through one of the “sheawaga” (“bad”) girls in the area and told her my plight. She told me to drink one bottle hot Guinness with some concoction and then take a certain injection, the pregnancy would abort the following morning. Eii!! Hmm!
I bought the Guinness and other items and drunk the concoction the following evening. The next morning, no show! Not even abdominal pains mpo.. tsooo!! I went to buy the injection and a nurse injected me but this abortion would not happen. The question was how old was the pregnancy??? All this while I had not mustered the courage to tell my mum I was pregnant. She was nursing her stress and depression after my dad’s death so didn’t pay attention to me. Besides, I never looked pregnant.
I got to school, chatting with the “bad girls” one told me to hit my stomach against something or drink another concoction with Guinness..(Guinness again?) It is so bitter eh! I was so desperate as I did all these but still no abortion took place.
About a month after I menstruated. That made me more confused. We were about writing our final exams. Later a friend introduced me to clinic where the doctor can abort even 7 months old pregnancy but it was quite expensive. Hmm!
OK, let’s try professional abortion…
I waited until I finished my final paper then one Sunday my mum couldn’t go to church so she gave me her tithe to go pay for her. Guess what!! I kept the money and recorded in the tithe book and brought it to her. I kept the money and Monday morning I was at the clinic as early as 6.30am. There was already a long queue of about 25 ladies coming for abortion.
The doctor started at about 8am and I vividly remember that I was number 27. There were 3 rooms. The place you change into surgery gown and the nurse will lead you to the room where the operation will take place, after that the nurse holds you to the rest room. The rest room was opposite the operation room and we were sitting near the operation room. So when the operation was done the patient was so weak to walk and 2 nurses would help you to the rest room.
Hmmn…gradually the line was moving I was so tensed and afraid. Eiii! A lot was going through my mind. What of if I die? My dad died not too long ago. Will I go to heaven? What went wrong? How did I find myself in such a mess? I come from a decent home. A home where serious discipline had been instilled in us. We had morning and evening devotions. We were taught the Bible and values of life. A chorister, a church organist, a secretary of the Youth Society in my church. What will people say? And then I heard ‘number 27!’ My heart missed a beat! I felt weak in my legs. I got to the changing room and the nurse took me to the doctor.
There was this middle aged doctor with a little grey hair on the hair and beard. Wearing his reading glasses ready to scribble my name on a sheet of paper. I felt that is the last time I was seeing the world. At that point I knew I would not come back to life again. He asked my name which I told him. My surname I guess rung a bell so he looked at me and started writing again. “Age?” He asked. I told him. Then he asked ” how old is the pregnancy?” I said 3 month, “ok go and lie down” he said.
God have mercy and forgive me was what I said. Foolishly I was humming “Abide with me”. My dad’s favourite song.
The emotional part…
I went to lay down on the structure and with the help of the 2 nurses hung my legs in the air. I turned to my left and I could see long metals; some looked like scissors and others like knives. I quickly shut my eyes waiting for death. Just then I felt the doctor touching my stomach and heard him say “my dear how old did you say the pregnancy was?” I said 3 months. He said No! This pregnancy is more than 3 months. He took some small instrument the one they used to check the heartbeat of babies in those days and said “my dear this baby is too old. I cannot abort it for you. Get up and go dress up and come” ooo!! So I wasn’t going to die?? The nurses helped me and went to dress up and came back.
The doctor asked me why I wanted to abort the pregnancy. I told him I wasn’t ready for a baby. I was a young girl and just came out of school. Besides, the father of the child was a student. He said to me, ‘EDEM THE BEGINNING OF LIFE DOESN’T MATTER BUT THE END. Don’t abort this baby. If you do you will die because the pregnancy is more than 3 months old. Face the challenges now and you will not regret it. May be this child might be your only child.’ I asked the doctor how old was my pregnancy. But he never told me.
Wow!! Edem going to be a mother???
What will my church people say? My mum, my siblings? My values?? The doctor instructed the nurses to give me back my money and I left.
I left the clinic somehow a bit relieved and encouraged. Now how was I going to face my problems? Ok. First things first. I was hungry. I used some of the money to buy Papaye fast food and drink. Yes, if man no die then I for chop!! I also bought myself some biscuits and chocolates! After that went to Tema Station and shopped for myself; shoes, wrist watch, necklace and went home.
I had still not said a word to my mother, nobody had noticed anything. I was there living my life. I started my internship at national theatre. Nobody knew I was pregnant. My boss William Addo (Akpatse) started noticing something but was not too sure after about 3 or 4 months into the internship. Mind you I was still having my monthly flow.
One day I came back from work and decided that come what may I would have to tell my mum! My mum hmm!! She was not my friend to start with. She was my mother period!! She was a mother I couldn’t discuss relationship issues with. No way! She was seriously STRICT like the word. She was called “Maridzata, Margret The Toucher, Kakalika”. She knew I was a virgin. She never allowed us to mingle with people outside church activities but trust Edem, I always out witted her. I would use my choir practice time to take car to wherever to meet my boyfriend and come home promptly like I had been to church.
Now, to the matter of breaking the news…
I would give excuses like I had to be in school over the weekend for extra class which wasn’t true. I then went to see my guy, had fan with my friends at the swimming pool, etc. My mum never ever suspected me to be that bad girl even though I was stubborn and clever at home.
I finally broke the news to her one Saturday morning. Yehowa!!!! You can imagine!
Hell descended on me that day. Jesus Christ! I remember it like yesterday!! Ooo my mum was disappointed especially when she got to know I wasn’t a virgin since the age of 18 years. She wailed, cried, shouted, broke down! What broke me too was when she said ” God forgive me, I have failed”! Wow!! I wept ! I knelt and held her feet to forgive me. I was sorry. (Mama Rest in Peace) I was her pride she said. She was so sure I would marry a virgin… (Ahh this woman paa 😁😁)
So it is settled. I was pregnant. I now had to face the world. My mum still couldn’t bare it. She was going through a lot. My dad’s death and after 2 years she had still not been paid my dad’s gratuity. My other siblings were still in school and then I was pregnant. So my granny had to come in. I had to go live with her in Madina. That was where I saw real life! That was where I learnt to be responsible. That was where I learnt how to wash bedsheets well. God bless my Grand Maa! May her soul rest well.
The beginning of a new era…
I stopped going to church at Burma Camp and started at Madina living a different life altogether. Life was not rosy at all. I was doing my internship with no pay. Life! My mum was sending little money here and there. My aunties helped as well. All hands on deck.
I had to start antenatal clinic at Mamobi Polyclinic because one of our tenants was a nurse there. At work, National Theatre was then producing Concert Party. I mustered courage and told my boss that I was pregnant. He laughed and said he knew it but wasn’t sure. Paa Willie (Akpatse) showed me so much love and care. He never made me feel sad at all and never allowed anybody to tease me. He bought me food every day. God bless you so much Paa Willie!
I went for the first antenatal and was scheduled to go back the following week. I still didn’t know how old the pregnancy was. Can you believe that in that my state of uncertainty men were chasing me left right center?! But charlie Boga make wild!! ” The evil women do live before them”. A lot of people never saw me pregnant but I was pregnant!
Back to the date with John…
On that Wednesday 14th February before leaving the office for my date with John, for some reasons I decided to finish up my program line up the weekend concert party which was so unusual. I knew I would not come to work the following day because I was visiting the clinic. Note, that was my second antenatal visit. The date went well. John kept staring at me and telling me how beautiful I was. He gave me my valentine present. Biscuits, country milk, chocolates and a beautiful valentine card. It was such a romantic evening. I got home a bit late and granny was quite worried.
15th February early in the morning, I saw blood with slight abdominal pain. I told my granny and she sent me to go call the nurse (Maa U). Maa had a visitor and I was shy to tell her that I had seen blood so I told her I just came to say good morning and left. I told my granny that she was busy. In fact, I wasn’t too bothered because it was time for my monthly flow and I was sure that it wasn’t something serious. But the pain was unusual.
I was doing my normal household chores. I swept the compound, washed the overnight dishes, emptied the bin and washed it so well that if you were served water in the bin you would be comfortable drinking it . I washed the rags as though I was washing my Christmas dress. Then Maa U came by and my granny told her about my situation. She was shocked and asked why I didn’t tell her when I came over to her place. In fact, I looked so stupid. She told me to go lie down so she could examine me. Guess what I had started dilating. I was due😳😳
Errr!! What?!! Am I in labour?? How!! Ok!! I quickly went to wash down and Maa U gave me a note to give to one of the nurses when I got to the Maamobi Polyclinic. Seriously if this was how labour was then is koko kraa … I thought to myself. My granny had to start looking for items for me. The plan was I would have to go to the clinic and they would come later.
I sat in trotro busy chewing my valentine biscuits and drinking my country milk. I got to the clinic and instead of going to look for the said nurse I joined the main stream of pregnant women coming for antenatal. We sang, prayed and the counseling session begun. During these sessions the nurses would tell us the foods to eat, how to sleep what to expect, the appropriate sex positions, etc. It was a fun class and I was enjoying it.
Then the pain became unbearable. I couldn’t walk well. So I finally went to give the note to the nurse. “Ah are u correct” she shouted at me! “Don’t you know you are in labour?? Where are your items?” Just as I was about to say I don’t have them, I saw my auntie coming with one of my uncle’s portmanteau.
I was sent to the labour ward so quickly, I didn’t know what was happening. By now the pain was serious. I was screaming. I gave my office number to one of the young nurses to call Paa Willie and inform him I was in labour. All my office people, Paa Willie, Auntie Anas, Caroline Akyeah, Auntie Adjoa of blessed memory came to the clinic. At 5.45 pm I delivered. A tinny baby weighing 2.0kgs or so!
On Thursday morning I heard John called the office and was told I had delivered. He was shocked and couldn’t believe it because he never knew I was pregnant.
On 15th February, 2021 my daughter turned 25 years old. Guess what she works with Guinness Ghana.🤣🤣🤣
THE BEGINNING OF LIFE DOESN’T MATTER BUT THE END.
There are only two ways to live your life, one is as though nothing is a miracle the other is as if everything is. I choose the latter.
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